JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Watch your head! If you’re looking for the perfect place to watch bats in Alabama — the drive isn’t too far from the Rocket City.
According to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), bat sightings have increased over the last few years and are routinely misunderstood. The agency says the winged creatures have earned a “false reputation as dirty, blind, bloodsucking, or harboring excessive levels of rabies.”
ADCNR says that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The agency says one of the best natural sights to see bats in the southeastern United States is right here in the Tennessee Valley. It’s the Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge in Jackson County.
During the summer, upwards of 250,000 gray bats can be seen emerging from the cave — more than anywhere else east of the Mississippi River. These bats specifically are listed as a federally endangered species.
ADCNR says, “Though impressive emergences at gray bat caves occur from May – September, emergence numbers are most impressive during mid summer.” The agency says while checking out the bats, make sure to wear a cap, hood, or umbrella.
Though the weather might be cold and “frightful,” according to the Frank Sinatra song, warmer weather — and bat watching season — is just around the corner.
The refuge is located at seven miles west of Scottsboro, just off U.S. 72. A short trail leads from the highway to the cave. For more information, call 256-353-7243.